1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

What if the Confederacy Survived the Civil War?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,847
    Likes Received:
    44,419
    This came up in the thread about Southern Racists but I think it is an interesting enough question that I think it deserves it's own thread.

    I've had some discussions with a few people about this before but consider what might history have been like if the Confederacy had survived. In 2004 there was a mockumentary called C.S.A.; the Confederate States of America that presented an alternate history of what might've been if the Confederacy had won. Their view was that slavery would've persisted to the present day with the present technology.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gIqxBn1oLAY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    While funny I think realistically there would've been no chance of the Confederacy actually conquering the North. The North was just too large and populous for the Confederacy to have actually occupied and even more maid part of an enlarged CSA. The most hope that the Confederacy had was if Lee's foray into the North had actually succeeded and he had been able to capture DC, break Union lines and turn much of the Union against continued costly war. Compelling the UK to enter to compel the Union to agree to a peace treaty and the end of the economic embargo. At that point the confederacy could've emerged from the war a separate country from the Union.

    Even if the Confederacy had survived the war I don't think it could've survived to the present day as a separate country and I don't think slavery as an institution would've survived to the present day. The Confederacy would still have remained an economic basketcase as even keeping slaves it couldn't compete with the industrialized Union. The Union even with the loss of the south would still be far more economically powerful than the south. Further the very nature of the Confederacy as a loose aglomeration of states would mean that they would have difficulty uniting on things like fiscal, infrastructure and foreign policy. Without a strong central government it would be difficult for the Confederacy to carry out an expansionist policy that built the US into a superpower. Even if the US agreed to recognize the original Confederate states there still was the issue of the other vast western territories and there the Union would continue to block the expansion of new Confederate states. In the longer term a CSA would have difficulties in becoming major participant in the later World Wars and would likely be less relevant as a global payer. A CSA would likely gradually dwindle in power and wealth until it either voluntarily agreed to return to the union or was eventually conquered. Most likely it would gradually fracture with some states on their own returning to the Union until it was no longer viable.

    What would happen to slavery I believe is that even in a CSA it would die out. Many Southerners such as Robert E. Lee recognized slavery as a dead end and by the end of the War Lee himself had pushed for allowing blacks to fight with the promise of their freedom. While slavery still survives in small scales among sex trafficking, and household labor it doesn't work well for a large industrial consumer based economy. A manufacturing economy requires consumers but slaves by nature aren't consumers. The South just wouldn't have enough internal consumption to drive development and even if it could sustain itself as an exporter a primarily slave society lacks the drive and innovation to increase productivity. It would likely take decades but my own feeling is that the leadership of the South would realize that slavery wasn't working in the age of industrialization.

    This is even further speculation but my own feeling has been is that if the South had themselves given up slavery rather than having it thrust upon them racial attitudes now in the South would be very different. As anyone who has grown up in the South know the history of the humiliation of the Reconstruction is still talked about to this day and likely fuels the distrust of the Federal government and the continued feeling of the uniqueness of the South. If the Confederacy had themselves come to the conclusion that slavery was wrong and if they had voluntarily returned to the Union without a Reconstruction I believe that the history regarding segregation, the Civil Rights movement all would've been very different.

    That isn't to say that I don't think that the Civil War shouldn't have been fought but I think the history of race relations in the South is very tied up in what happened in the aftermath of the war.
     
  2. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    34,372
    Likes Received:
    13,940
    1. I agree that slavery would not have survived much longer anyway as the modernization of the economy rendered the system obsolete. But, despite not having the resentment of a Reconstruction period, you could still have intense racism toward blacks, and resentment against the Union for a costly war even if the South prevailed in the end. Given the historical resistance we did see toward full equal rights coming from Southern politicians, I could see an apartheid-style post-slavery Confederacy. Free blacks that remain in a Jim Crow status for a very, very long time.

    2. But, I don't agree that it would be doomed as a nation-state. It wasn't as industrialized as the North, but neither was Mexico and that didn't compromise Mexico's national integrity. Besides that though, just because it wasn't industrialized at the time doesn't mean it couldn't quickly gin up. Southerners had resources and education to build industry. Since it would no longer be advantageous to build where the infrastructure already was in the north, new industrial centers would have sprung up in the south. Look at Japan and how quickly they were able to industrialize when all the conditions were right.

    3. Even so, I'm sure the North would have beat them in the conquest of the west. So the Confederacy would just be a southeast power. That's still a pretty big area -- scale enough to be viable.

    4. The North would not be as powerful on the international stage without the Confederate states. It wouldn't have as many of the resources as otherwise, for one, and two these two countries probably would have fought one another a lot over territorial expansion. That sort of contention would leave both weaker.

    5. There'd always be the potential for full or partial reunification, especially given the large freedoms a Confederacy would give to its states. Given that the two countries are neighbors, have a similar heritage, and speak the same language and were really only separated by economic and political interest, reunification would seem natural. Then again, this is all true of Canada and the US, and we're nowhere close to merging. The longer they stayed apart, the more likely it would be permanent.

    6. What I think is most interesting is that the internal migration of rural Southern blacks to the urban centers of the North wouldn't have happened. Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philly -- white cities. How would the culture of the Union be different from today if seeing a black person stroll a city street is a rare experience?
     
  3. SamFisher

    SamFisher Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    59,374
    Likes Received:
    37,102
    The industrial revolution was in full swing by 1860 yet slavery was at its peak.

    "Slavery was dying out" is a dangerous, dumb myth that has its roots in the revisionism of post-war confederate sympathizers.
     
  4. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    45,153
    Likes Received:
    21,573
    The Confederacy did survive the Civil War.
     
  5. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    34,372
    Likes Received:
    13,940
    Good thing I didn't say that so I won't be lumped in with confederate sympathizers. Probably by 1865, it'd still be going strong. By 2015, I don't think its revisionist or dangerous to say a slave-based economy would not survive in today's market. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have fought the war or that we should have let slavery die its natural economic death. It's just an alternate history exercise of what the Confederacy look like today. Do you honestly see the Confederacy in 2015 still owning slaves when it is illegal on the rest of the planet? If so, I'd like to hear why.
     
  6. glynch

    glynch Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Messages:
    17,859
    Likes Received:
    3,436
    Slavery would have been abolished around 1900. There would at present be a BDS movement much like went on with South Africa and is now building up wrt to Israel to force them to have something similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    The South would have a population of about 20% of what it now has.

    I would still be living up North I suppose. Probably you could go from the North to the South without a visa without a visa if you are white at least.
    As in Israel it would be more or less illegal for the races to marry.

    Maybe the North would have invaded Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana over oil in the early 1920.

    Maybe the South would have taken over all of Mexico and be officially bilingual.

    Lots of possibilities

    Would make a good tv miniseries.
     
  7. SamFisher

    SamFisher Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    59,374
    Likes Received:
    37,102
    Sure, why not? The US does many ridiculous and dumb things that would be abhorrent to others (Health care, firearms, etc) or that are economically moronic. So do many other societies. Hell we have wars about creationism in school. CREATIONISM. An idea that was intellectually dead not long after Gettysburg. It's kind of funny to assume "well, that's bad, and dumb, so maybe it would die" when we're surrounded by bad and dumb ideas all over the place.
     
  8. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

    Joined:
    May 15, 2000
    Messages:
    28,028
    Likes Received:
    13,046
    Yes, it lives in the hearts of many.
     
  9. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    15,867
    Likes Received:
    6,856
    Anyone who thinks slavery would have persisted to this day are complete fools. While slavery still exists to this day, no business in the modern world would openly do business with such a country. Besides, its cheaper to move your business into a desolate country and pay the natives starvation wages and force them to find their own food and housing.

    It can be argued the Reconstruction period did just as much damage as the Civil War. It set the South back a couple decades. I do believe it intensified the race relations.

    The Souths predominate asset was agriculture. The South simply would not have survived the long haul. What many people do not consider is world politics. The rest of the world had a vested interest in keeping the US together. Imports was very important to them. With a volatile America, this would drive up the cost of goods, just like a volatile Middle East drives up the price of oil. With a fractured North America, this would make The South very vulnerable to Mexico and Spain. If Mexico/Spain did not end up conquering the South, they would certainly have taken the Southwest, including Texas and California.
    Instead of letting the South go, I firmly believe the North invaded, not because of slavery, but to preserve the union. They understood the North would be extremely vulnerable w/out the South.
     
  10. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,847
    Likes Received:
    44,419
    We have strong disagreements about Creationism but I don't think anybody would actually be willing to kill people over it like slavery.

    While yes it is possible that in an independent CSA that slavery could've survived until the present day but since this is a thought experiment we have to look at historical trends and I feel pretty safe to say that those trends would show that slavery as a major economic institution probably wouldn't survive.

    If your argument is that dumb ideas survive, I agree they do, countries like Saudi Arabia seem to have a lot of dumb ideas yet continue to persist. That said the CSA wouldn't be Saudi Arabia. First cotton isn't oil, next is it would be a country that was bordering another major country diametrically opposed to one of its main institutions along with several trading partners. Do you think well into the 20th C. that the UK, France and other major countries would continue to trade with and support a slave owning CSA? I don't think so. I think inevitably external and internal pressure would cause a CSA to give up slavery.
     
  11. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

    Joined:
    May 15, 2000
    Messages:
    28,028
    Likes Received:
    13,046
    :confused:


    ;)
     
  12. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,847
    Likes Received:
    44,419
    Good post and mirrors some of my own thoughts.

    You raise an interesting argument about why the Union wanted to keep the South as that usually is just accepted apriori without really looking into the motivations of what the North gets out of fighting a major war. While the South provided a buffer for the North from foreign powers on the southern borders I think it was more complicated than that. During the 19th C. there were other succession movements besides just the Southern states and at various times New England and even NYC considered leaving the Union. I think there was a fear that losing part of the country might lead to an unraveling of the whole country.

    Fear of the South being lost to a foreign power might've been a factor but I suspect the South would fight just as hard, if not harder against an invasion by a foreign power. If that did happen and the CSA was on the verge of losing I suspect the US would step in. I think the bigger issue was competition between the CSA and USA with expansion into the Western territories. I'm firmly convinced that US would dominate and keep the CSA bottled up from growing beyond the Confederacy.

    One thing I do think is that fear of foreign invasion would lead a CSA to rejoin the US. Even though the CSA and USA would be enemies at the same time sharing a common language and background they would be far more suspicious of Mexico and Spain. My own guess is that CSA states like Texas, Louisiana and Florida if they felt like they were in danger of being conquered by Spanish speaking powers and the CSA couldn't stop them they would look to the US for protection. Sort of like how Rick Perry talks about secession while at the same time talking about the need for more federal troops to protect the border.
     
  13. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,344
    Likes Received:
    1,203
    Who would they have sold their cotton to? The blockade destroyed the southern economy and was also devastating for the north. The war lead the British to begin planting cotton in Egypt to compete with southern cotton.

    I imagine the confederacy would have fallen into depression, a deep depression. The north, being the more powerful, could still have attempted to blockade southern ports. The west most certainly would not have been settled as it were. Japan, Mexico, Russia and other nations would have had a greater influence over western development. The U.S. would not be nearly as powerful as it is today and would likely consist of just the northern union and some Midwest states.
     
  14. SamFisher

    SamFisher Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    59,374
    Likes Received:
    37,102
    it's just as valid in this ridiculous alternate pseudo history for me to assume that the CSA, whose undying love for the flourishing institution of slavery was it's entire reason for being on earth, would ignore these pretend pressures that you're citing.

    Let me be clear - the CSA without slaving isn't the CSA. In fact in the alternate universe where they win acceptance of slavery in the US, why is it invalid to assume they can't win it abroad as well? It's not.

    All sorts of irrational stupid **** has happened throughout history. To pretend like a parallel universe would otherwise trend in the way you want it to is silly (though harmless). See Ashton Kutcher in the Butterfly effect.

    Though in this instance you and JV have necessarily adopted a plank from the virulent strain of post war resistance that sadly is still pitched today by Fox news ****forbrains for their own ends. So Coolio.
     
  15. Remii

    Remii Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    7,622
    Likes Received:
    106
    Those places had slavery too... Even New York. The North didn't have as many slaves as the South but if you throw in the Irish (the forgotten slaves) they had a bunch.

    Off topic. The South had more free people than the North. Including slave owners emancipating and captives running away... There were many immigrants from the West Indies because of the revolt in 1791, fom Cuba because of Napoleon, and when America purchased Louisiana they inherited thousands of free people.

    People are killing people over religion right now... And in this so called Christian Nation the Willie Lynch teachings are still in effect. Also the slave owners forced Christianity on their captives because it's a slave/serve religion (as is most)... If you don't break the code of the bible it can be used against you.

    To add, in this country most middle class and under of all colors are slaves... Tax and consumer slaves with the government watching every move they make and constitutional rights being taken away.
     
  16. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    14,518
    Likes Received:
    1,842
    It would have been the first of many, still going on today; and it would have extended to Latin America and particularly the Gulf once we discovered off shore oil. The alternative being one more 1812 type struggle before they resume exporting raw materials and finished products to each other.

    As manufacturing and coal and oil extraction expand as part of the Southern economy, slaves are subcontracted and escorted to-and-from job-sites via fully segregated rail and bus lines. (Southern estate and probate judges are not writing off inheritable livestock). There's no impetus for them to gain voting rights or citizenship, which means no 14th amendment and also probably indirectly screws non-black immigrants, their kids, freedmen in the North and anyone without a Y-chromosome.

    Music production and college and professional sports remain working class but also exclusively white. Lobster trappers in Maine and clammers in Baltimore complain about exhaust from rocket and shuttle launches. Ross Sterling becomes the John Rockefeller of the South.

    Everybody gets rich selling weapons, oil and cotton to Lebensraum and Greater Nippon.

    Latin American countries will complain about black immigration.
     
  17. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    14,518
    Likes Received:
    1,842
    I don't know if you ever do an "alternate history" search on google, RJ, but there are probably several threads or maybe even fanfic on www.alternatehistory.com that cover this.
     
  18. iconoclastic

    iconoclastic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6,100
    Likes Received:
    422
    My two cents: slaves rebellions due to the economic collapse of the Confederacy, leading to decimation of Southern infrastructure and eventually leading to annexation of the South by the North anyway, so a little bit less surviving Southern culture and a little more Northern influence in the former Confederate states.
     
  19. FV Santiago

    FV Santiago Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    434
    Likes Received:
    62
    There are far more slaves today on earth than there were during the period of legalized slavery in the United States. There is political incentive for the left in the United States to consistently stoke the flames of past injustices in order to gain sympathy and in turn extract benefit. The slaves working in the southern United States in the 1800's were no better or worse off than the slaves who live a tortured, miserable existence today. Both are and were terrible situations. Today's slaves don't have Hollywood churning out an annual blockbuster movie in their honor. I hope people don't lose sight of this. I do think that parts of the left like to tamp down discussions of modern day slavery because it does somewhat dilute a core issue that has historically motivated their base. Sexual slavery in Asia is one of the most abhorrent issues facing us. Don't think that slavery ended in the 1800's.
     
  20. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    14,518
    Likes Received:
    1,842
    Not every discussion needs to be filtered through whatever godforsaken political scorecard you've got running in your head. As I mentioned before there are whole sites and message boards that explore these and other hypothetical questions. Incidentally don't pretend that mainstream conservatives care as much about contemporary slavery as you seem to care about trivializing an entire eighth of of our country having no cultural or geneological heritage due to being globally displaced and then bought and sold at every generation for three and a half centuries.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now